What is an Intranet?
In simple terms, an intranet is a private network to access information. The information is owned by a business or other entity then access is granted to employees. A modern intranet is cloud-based, user-friendly, and easily accessible by all employees, including remote workers. Here are some of the main advantages of an intranet.
— Improving Internal Communications
This is one of the main reasons businesses install a company intranet. It makes communicating from the executive suite to employees, employees with managers, and employees-to-fellow-employees much easier. The intranet’s publishing capabilities and collaboration tools mean that news and information is easily shared within the company.
— Better Document Control
It’s not unusual for several people to be working on the same set of documents, sometimes simultaneously. Document control and management is a common role of the intranet in business. Intranet software easily keeps track of which version of a document is the latest one, who wrote the document, when it was last edited, and who performed those edits.
— Improved Information Sharing
The company intranet is also used to store company documents and share information. These files can be stored in written form, as well as videos or audio files. News and announcements are easily shared with certain groups or everyone within the company using the intranet’s publishing capabilities.
→ Read more : 40 Intranet Benefits for Companies and Employees
Difference Between an Intranet and an Extranet:
Some businesses have an intranet and an extranet. An intranet is limited to employees only. An extranet can be accessed by authorized third parties. These would be vendors, customers, or partners.
LumApps Intranet Software
1. Company-wide Announcements
A business can’t be effective if employees aren’t able to receive company news and announcements in a timely manner.
Example: The CEO makes an announcement that it will be adopting “summer work hours” for July and August. Employees will be allowed to leave work two hours early on Friday afternoons.
The best way to get this message across to all employees, including those who work from home or who are out of the office, would be to send it as a blast to all employees. Everyone receives the message at the same time and there is no confusion about the message’s intent. Unlike email, intranet users can verify that announcements get read through analytics or by using push notifications.
2. A Company Directory
This application of intranet reduces the time employees spend looking for information.
Example: It is frustrating to be at work and not know who to contact for a particular problem or concern. In the past, employees would reach out to Human Resources, but they can’t know everything.
A detailed company directory that includes a photo of each employee, their job title, a summary of their qualifications, along with their interests and any special skills, would be very helpful to co-workers looking for an expert in a specific area. Employees would be able to determine if they have an internal resource available or need to look externally.
3. Instant Messaging Feature
Some people may argue that instant messaging is not necessary if employees already have access to email. However, instant messaging exists for urgent situations when email doesn’t suffice.
Example: A team member gets stuck on a project. They could email their fellow team members to ask for help and directions on how to get unstuck. This could be time consuming as it depends on schedules and how often each person checks their work emails. Sending a message to the team using instant messaging is more efficient and results in faster responses.
4. Content Management System
A content management system is a key internet application. Employees who are looking for a specific document can use the intranet’s search engine function to find what they are looking for quickly.
Example: An employee needs to find a report written by one of the company’s executives from a couple of years ago. The employee also knows the topic.
Based on this, the employee should be able to use intranet’s search engine and locate the report. There may be more than one result; however, since the employee knows when the report was written, it should be easy to find the correct document.
5. Automating Forms Capability
In any company, some forms need to be completed and forwarded to Human Resources for processing. The intranet makes this process easier to manage by sending forms to employees for completion.
Example: Vacation request forms are distributed through the company intranet. Employees complete them with their requests for annual vacation time. Once the forms are filled out, they are automatically returned to Human Resources for processing.
This process saves time since the HR Department can track any employees who have not turned in their vacation requests promptly. HR can then send direct reminders instead of a blast to all employees.
6. Social Network for Employees
Not all communications between employees at work are about their jobs. One of the benefits of working is the social aspect and the connection that employees feel with each other. The intranet’s virtual water cooler feature makes it a social intranet where employees can post on topics independent of their job descriptions.
Example: An employee can make a post looking for fellow employees interested in helping out a (company-approved) charity by donating time and/or money. Employees who want to donate their time will be rewarded on a 2:1 basis by the employer. For every two hours of time donated to the charity, they will be given one paid hour of time off.
7. Event Management
When a company needs to hold a meeting or an event, the intranet has the features necessary to ensure that all invitees are informed and in attendance.
Example: A company wants to schedule a meeting with its employees and vendors to introduce a new product. It uses intranet features to invite its sales, customer service, and field service staff to a meeting to introduce the new product. The meeting is scheduled virtually so that employees performing remote work can attend.
When the company is ready to introduce the new product to its vendors, the same strategy is used with the company extranet. The vendors are notified of the meeting and are asked to RSVP electronically. The presentation is held via video so that the vendors can access it through their mobile apps.
8. Workgroup Scheduling and Calendars
With people in a company working as a team to complete projects, it is essential that they are all on the same schedule as far as deadlines are concerned. Scheduling and calendars are important intranet applications.
Example: All members of a workgroup enter their deadlines on a team calendar. Everyone can see upcoming deadlines and which team member is responsible for meeting them. The team leader can see who may be becoming overburdened and who may be able to take on more work.
9. Company Events Calendar
Not everyone at the company is going to be constantly checking their work email, or the physical (or digital) bulletin boards information about upcoming events.
Example: Make it easy for all employees to stay up-to-date about company events by posting them on a centralized calendar solely for this purpose. Employees can tell at a glance which events are coming up whether they are based in the main office, the warehouse, or are working remotely.
10. Support Services
The intranet is the logical place for employees to report when they are having difficulty with any company equipment.
Example: Employees who want to report a problem with their equipment can fill out a support ticket and submit it through the company intranet. Tickets can also be used to request the replacement of small office machines (telephones, calculators, dictating equipment, etc.).
Support tickets can also be used when employees are having software issues. They can be used by all workers, in-house or remote. The technical support team can receive the message and react to it quickly.
11. Access to Pay Stubs
Workers now have access to electronic versions of their pay stubs instead of having to request a paper copy through HR. But it’s not always clear where to go to find pay stubs and PTO information.
Example: Employees can easily find their pay information through an intuitive intranet structure. Workers find the right system to check their pay stubs and find other information regarding benefits and insurance.
This allows the HR department to increase productivity as they cut down on administrative requests.
12. Workplace Health and Safety Materials
Ideally, health and safety training in the workplace is a continuing process. It shouldn’t be something that employees are given as part of their initial training then ignored. Everyone in the workplace has a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for their co-workers.
Example: Upload the company health and safety manual to the intranet so that employees can refer to it as often as necessary. Include other materials, such as short videos dealing with common health and safety concerns, that employees can watch on demand.
13. Employee Onboarding Materials
New employees need to go through onboarding procedures at the start of their tenure. Uploading these documents and processes to the intranet makes this process run smoothly and gets the new employee off to a great start in their new role.
Example: When a new employee joins the company, provide a login to the intranet. As soon as they gain access, they should be able to see a page welcoming them. All the documents they need to fill out should be readily available so the new hire can deal with them right away.
14. Company FAQs
This is an intranet solution that can save the company time, especially if it has a team of remote workers along with in-house employees.
Example: Employees can be directed to consult the Company FAQ page for answers to common questions. New hires and those who have changed roles within the company can look at the list of FAQs to find the information they need before sending emails or messages to their team leader or HR. Consider developing a general FAQ page along with specific pages relating to department roles, such as sales, customer service representatives, and service technicians.
15. Training Materials
The HR team needs to ensure that employees complete their mandatory training. Tracking everyone down through email to make sure they stay compliant is ineffective and time consuming. The company intranet can expedite the process.
Example: Post a company-wide notice to employees about required training. Ensure that training modules are stored in one place on the intranet and are clearly identified. Employees can also comment or perform an action once the training module is completed so HR managers can track everything.
16. Recognition for Good Employee Performance
Make a point to recognize workers for their contributions to foster a positive employee experience.
Example: Congratulate an employee for achieving a monthly or quarterly sales goal. Point out the hard work that a team put in to deliver a project. Let everyone know when an employee has reached a milestone anniversary with the company. Declare someone the Employee of the Month and share details about their contributions to the company within an intranet post.
17. A CEO Blog
Encourage communication between employees and the executive suite by having the CEO talk directly to workers through regular posts.
Example: A leadership corner can be used for official announcements, and less formal topics. Employees should be encouraged to ask questions and start discussions by being able to leave comments.
The CEO can then use these questions and discussions as the basis for future communication. If one person has a question or concern about an issue, there are others wondering the same thing.
18. Learning Hub
Every company is a living entity with accumulated knowledge from its employees. Don’t let it go to waste.
Example: Consolidate the organization’s best practices, product manuals, brochures, marketing materials, sales assets, etc., and store them in a specific learning hub. These materials can answer questions for employees or be the starting point for new projects. Knowledge is preserved. Take advantage of in-house resources before looking elsewhere.
19. Employee Feedback Surveys
The best way to learn about the employee experience is to conduct employee surveys.
Example: Add a survey or polling widget to the intranet. Make sure that it only takes a few minutes to complete (and sell employees on the fact it’s brief).
By adding the employee survey to the intranet, it’s easier to track which employees see it and who missed it through analytics. Unlike email where it might get missed and there’s no way to track read receipts. To ensure that everyone is aware of the request to provide feedback, the company can also use a push notification to alert everyone.
20. Employee Alert System
The intranet is also an employee alert system. It can be used to reach all employees in an emergency using push notifications and email alerts.
Example: A natural disaster occurs and the company needs to ensure that employees avoid the area near the company office. Push notifications and email alerts can be used initially to relay the information quickly. Read and acknowledge receipts on messages can be used to determine which employees have received this crucial information.
As the situation changes, the intranet can be used to provide updates to employees. The FAQs page can be updated in light of the emergency and any forms employees need to submit can be made available on the intranet.
An intranet is a private network to access information. The information is owned by a business or other entity then access is granted to employees. A modern intranet is cloud-based, user-friendly, and easily accessible by all employees, including remote workers.